ABBA-How many records did ABBA sell?

2010: ABBA's Frida and Bjorn are given are honored for selling 375 million units!
   How many records did ABBA sell?  We don’t really know.  Wikipedia is one of the few bodies  daring or foolish enough to try answer the question of who the world’s biggest selling music acts are. Wikipedia lists ABBA among the top 17 selling music acts based on claims of having   sold 200 million units or more. During their active career, ABBA was highly successful in most nearly every market they competed in, with the notable exception of the United States. The success of ABBA Gold and (groan) Mamma Mia confirms ABBA continuing appeal.  In 2010, ABBA’s estimable record label, Universal, gave  ABBA an award for having sold 375  million singles and albums. This total has not been verified independently.  A total like that (if it were true) would put them in  the  top five record sellers of all time. It is hard to see how Universal  came up with number.   Adding up, on your own, all ABBA's  sales certifications and adding generously  for ABBA's records that didn’t go gold- you would  have trouble getting beyond 175,000,000 in sales. 

Counting up their sales by country-is especially fruitless.  In Great Britain, for example, you add up  all their sales and even guessing generously you do not get any more than 30 million sales in total. In the small, but sometimes ABBA crazy Australian market, I only came up with something like 8- 12 million units in total.  In the world’s biggest record market-the United States they sold a pathetic total of maybe 14 to 20 million records. France? 9 million  Germany? Only 10-20 million. I’m up to only 91 million and I’m running out of big markets. So let’s try this. Let’s add up  sales by each album directly: by this method you get- 130-150 total album sales.  I haven’t seen a good overall figure for ABBA’s overall sales of singles but that number is likely to range from 40 to 100 million units. So what’s ou grand  total-  maybe 170 to 250 million units?   Maybe Kylie Minogue was out there buying the other 125 million.   

  How about some low ball estimates ? Wikipedia says that ABBA’s verifiable   sales certifications only equal 51 million units, a number  that places ABBA  much  lower in the list of best selling artists. Wikipedia does acknowledge that this number does not cover all sales-for pre Soundscan era acts like ABBA.  So that  51,000,000  number doesn’t tell the true story either, actually, I’m going have to say  I  find that figure  to be meaningless.    So where are all those extra millions in sales coming from? Could it be a series of hyped sales estimates that have been enshrined over time? Or maybe the source is  sales  from record clubs (not always included in certifications), sales from Armenia, from Uruguay,  from Togo, from Bosnia, and so on and on.  

 ABBA's  music  has been around 40 years, they have released over 100 compilations and  sold records in a 100 or more territories and you know that kind of thing adds up over time.  ABBA is a uniquely universal group, selling or having their music stolen in every conceivable market. ABBA were popular in the heyday in even less traditional markets like Japan, Latin America, the former Soviet Bloc, the Philippines, South Africa, and Oceania and nowadays in places like China and Korea.    Maybe Universal (and its predecessors) secretly sold millions of records in Mongolia. I guess will never know.  

COMPARATIVE Overall ABBA PERFORMANCE IN MAJOR MARKETS (tabulated   from Trent Nickson's ABBA charts)

Sweden 9
Norway 9
United Kingdom 9
Belgium 8
Germany 7
Netherlands 7
Austria 5
Australia 4
New Zealand 4
France 3
Spain 1
Mexico 1
Argentina 1
Japan 1
Canada 0
United States 0
South Africa 0
 Italy 0

#1 Singles

Belgium 14
Ireland 12
Sweden 10
Germany 9
United Kingdom 9
Netherlands 8
South Africa 8
Australia 6
New Zealand 6
Argentina 1
France 3
Austria 3
Norway 2
Spain 1
Mexico 1
United States 1
Canada 0
Japan 0
Italy 0

Top 10 singles

South Africa 26
Belgium 24
Netherlands 24
Germany 21
Austria 20
United Kingdom 19
Ireland 19
Australia 16
New Zealand 13
Sweden 12
France 12
Spain 7
Canada 8
Argentina 5
United States 4
Italy 3
Mexico 2
Japan 0

SOME  fun ABBA Sales FACTS and figures! 
   UK-ABBA had the most #1 albums in row (a total tied with Led Zeppelin) in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company says they are among the top ten all time acts for single sales in the UK.   ABBA Gold was the #1 album  at three different times in the UK.  Mamma Mia is the biggest selling movie DVD in UK history. The word Abba appears three times in the new testament. 
   USA-ABBA was the first Swedish group to chart in the USA, but only the second Swedish group to make the top 40 or go to number one on the single chart.  They have the most American top 40 hits of any Swedish group.  ABBA Gold has sold more copies in the USA than in any other country (6 to 8 million).The Mamma Mia soundtrack is the only ABBA related album to top the American Top 200 album charts. ABBA had only # 1 single in the USA.  Fellow Swede Max Martin has written  19 American #1's.
   Oceania-Best of ABBA is considered the biggest selling album in New Zealand history, and this album  used to (and some say still does ) have that title in Australia.  Four of ABBA albums are certified 10x platinum in Australia. “Fernando” was number one for 14 (or15) weeks in a Australia , the longest number of weeks ever for any single.
   ABBA Gold-ABBA Gold is among the top five selling albums ever in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand   This record is ABBA biggest selling album with over 29 million copies sold. 
    Sweden-Arrival and The Album are both said (not verified) to have sold   700,000 copies each in Sweden. ABBA ( 1975) and ABBA Gold have sold around 500,000 copies in Sweden. Sweden has only nine million people.  Agnetha and Frida each had   three number albums in Sweden. BAO had two number albums, the Chess concept album and the Mamma Mia soundtrack also went to number one.
   Japan: The Voulez-Vous album sold nearly 1,000, 000 copies. Belgium- From 1976 to 1980 their  singles never charted below #2 on the BRT.
  Overall-ABBA had 25 different songs   hit #1 on at least one national chart (source: Ian Cole from Trent Nickson)

Bggest selling ABBA albums worldwide  AS of 2013 (Albums selling at least 500,000 or more copies)
  Chart  is adapted from UKMix, Johnny Boy, MC Dangerous, Guillaume(Fan of Music)  and  Trent Nickson

1. Gold – Greatest Hits (1992) – 29,000,000 or more!
2. Greatest Hits (1975/6) -11,500,000
3. Arrival (1976)- 11,500,000
4. The Album (1978) : 8,000, 000
5. Super Trouper (1980) -7,500,000
6. Voulez-Vous (1979)  - 7,500,000
7. Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1979) -6,500,000
8. The Visitors (1981) -4,500, 000
9. The Definitive Collection (2002)  - 2,500,000
10.More Abba Gold – More Abba Hits (1993)  - 2,500,000
11.ABBA (1975) – 2,500.000
12.The Singles (The First Ten Years) (1982)- 2,500,000
13.Best Of (1975)-2,500,000
14.Waterloo (1974)  -2.000.000
15.K-tel’s Magic of ABBA (1980)  - 2,000,000
16. The Millennium Collection (2000)  -1,500,000
17. Music Goes On (1996)  - 1,200,000
18. Masters Collection (1996)  - 1,200,000
19.Name of the Game  (2002) – 1,200,000
20. SOS – The Best Of ABBA (2001)  - 800,000
21.A Van ABBA / A Wie ABBA (1981) – 800,000
22. 18 Hits (2006) – 750,000
23. Number Ones (2006) – 750,000
24.Gracias Por La Musica (1980)  -700,000
25.Forever Gold (1996)  - 700,000 to 900,000
26. Oro(1993)- 700,000 ?
27. Ring Ring(1973)- 700,000?

There are at that least another 24 ABBA albums that have  sold over 100,000 copies each

Largest selling ABBA singles....

Sales estimates of Biggest selling ABBA Singles  

Dancing Queen - 6,500,000
Fernando - 6,000,000
Waterloo - 5,500,000
Chiquitita - 4,700,000
Take a Chance on Me - 4,200,000
Money, Money, Money - 4,000,000
S.O.S. - 4,000,000
Gimme Gimme Gimme - 3,900,000
Mamma Mia - 3,500,000
Knowing Me, Knowing You - 3,300,000
The Winner Takes It All - 3,000,000
I Do, I Do, I Do - 2,500,000
Super Trouper - 2,300,000
Summer Night City - 2,000,000
I Have a Dream - 1,600,000
The Name of the Game - 1,500,000
One of Us - 1,500,000
Voulez-Vous - 1,400,000
Honey, Honey - 1,000,000
Ring, Ring - 800,000
Does Your Mother Know - 600,000
Eagle - 350,000
So Long - 250,000
Hasta Mañana - 200,000
On and On and On - 100,000
(ABBA’s remaining 17 major singles presumably sold less than 100,000 copies each.
Total: 64,800,000

Main Source:Joel at Media Source

Highest Charting Abba Hits using different chart ranking methodologies

Weighted to large markets

1. Dancing Queen 1976
2. Fernando 1976
3 Waterloo 1974
4 Take a Chance on Me 1978
5 The Winner Takes it All 1980
6 Knowing Me Knowing You 1977
7 Money, Money, Money
8 SOS 1975
9 Chiquitita 1979
10 Super Trouper 1980

(Source:ABBA record sales)
Includes Spanish markets

1. Dancing Queen (1976)
2. Chiquitita 1979
3. Fernando (1976) (1979)
4. The Winner Takes it All (1980)
5. Knowing Me, Knowing You (1977)
 6. Waterloo (1974)
 7. Take a Chance on Me (1978)
8. Super Trouper (1980)
 9. The Name of the game (1977)
10. One of Us (1981)

(Source :skid)

See also:
Kiss and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Who really belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. well it's really interesting this article, but i see some wrongs, for example in Mexico habba has 9 numbers one, "Fernando" sold record 10 millions and Waterloo 6, Arrival, The Album, Voulez vous and Super Trouper (albums) sold more than 15 million according to the wikipedia Same certifications Showing some countries like China.
    The ABBA 40th anniversary video (ON YOU TUBE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27TGkADStbw ) detailing ABBA had 111 singles number one 76 number one albums , and finally sold 370 million albums , 1980 ABBA entry into Guinness record by selling 180 million sold record in six years , finally said to have sold Billboard 400 million...

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  4. A French fellow called Eric has carefully worked out the Global No.1 Singles of many Acts. He gets 131 International No.1 Singles for ABBA - or 20 more than the 40th Anniversary You Tube Video gives them. They actually had 132 Global No.1 Singles. Eric uses the wrong Chart for Canada. The Chart that he uses says that 'Dancing Queen' was a No.2 Hit. In fact it spent 2 Weeks at No.1 in the 'Official' Canadian Charts in 1977.

    You can get even more Global ABBA No.1 Singles, if you use the BRT Chart for Belgium. They had 16 No.1 Singles in that Chart - to 14 in the Belgian Humo Chart. They had 11 No.1 Singles in the UK's New Musical Express Chart, as both 'Chiquitita' & 'One Of Us' were No.1 Hits in that Chart. They reached No.2 & No.3 in the 'Official' UK Charts, where ABBA had 9 No.1 Singles.

    Eric's Global ABBA Singles Data


    The 'Official' Canadian No.1 Singles of 1977:


  5. Interesting hadn't seen that !

  6. Felpin - As I expected, there will be a 25th Anniversary Edition of 'ABBA Gold'. The 25th Anniversary is not until September, but it is being commemorated in June, for some reason. Although there are 'Alternative Versions' of several ABBA Hits, Benny & Bjorn will not let the Fans, (or Universal Music), have them. So, the 25th Anniversary Edition, of 'ABBA Gold', is just the same old 19 Tracks. It is a 2 Disk Vinyl Album 'Set'. The only 'gimmick' is that it is on 'Gold' Vinyl - although it looks like a weird shade of Green to me.
    Here is a Link, so you can see what Fans think of it - and see photos of it: